Last year’s Maryland Terrapins Men’s Basketball team were overachievers making it to the second round of the NCAA tournament when few expected them to be “dancing” in March.
The Terps had a roller coaster regular season losing to Duke by 41 and then defeating then-No. 3 North Carolina in College Park. The catalyst for the North Carolina win and the tournament berth was eccentric Venezuelan guard Greivis Vasquez.
After the season Vasquez decided to forgo his senior season in College Park and test the NBA waters, disappointing many Maryland fans who believed Vasquez could lead the Terps even further in the NCAA Tournament next season. After the pre-draft camps, individual workouts and much speculation about playing in Europe or the NBA, Vasquez delighted Terps fans on Monday when he decided to take his name out of the draft and return to Maryland for his senior year.
Throughout the course of his career, Vasquez has been one of the most frustrating and yet one of the best players to watch. His sophomore season was filled with some bad decision-making and bad ballhandling which led me to deem him “the Human Turnover” on my radio show prior to this season.
This season however, Vasquez emerged into a team leader and one of the best players in the conference. Not only was he the Terps leading scorer, he was also their leading rebounder and the unquestioned emotional leader. His 35-point performance against North Carolina was one of the greatest performances from any player that has ever donned a Maryland uniform and endeared him to a fan base that had booed him the prior season.
The return of “general Greivis” makes the Terps a legitimate Top 25 team and could return them to prominence in the college basketball world(a place where they haven’t been since 2002). Vasquez is a legitimate 1st team All-ACC player and could be a dark horse contender for National Player of the Year
Last season, amidst all the negativity surrounding the program and all the people calling for Gary Williams’ job, there was one constant for the Terps; Greivis Vasquez. Vasquez returns to lead a talented Terps team that landed two big time recruits in Jordan Williams and James Padgett.
After three NIT appearances since wining the National Title in 2002, the Maryland Basketball program looks to be on the rise again thanks to a brash, out spoken Venezuelan.
I truly believe that two years from now when Terps fans look into the rafters of the Comcast Center, right there next to the jerseys of Juan Dixon, Lonny Baxter, Steve Blake and other Terps greats, we will see the number 21 jersey of Greivis Vasquez. This is something nobody thought we would see when he was jawing back and forth with the home fans in his Sophomore year.
Welcome back Greivis, now for the love of God please lead us back to the Sweet 16!!!